HEALTHY LIVING

The Hidden Reason You Might Be Tired All The Time

02/13/2015 08:21 am ET | Updated Feb 13, 2015

What if the reason you're always tired isn't because of life's many stresses and demands, but because of an underlying, undiagnosed sleep disorder?

That's the case for many people with sleep apnea, a condition that causes people to stop breathing while asleep, sometimes as often as hundreds of times a night. These brief pauses in breathing disrupt sleep enough to leave sleep apnea sufferers feeling unrested in the morning, even though they might not notice the interruptions while they're happening.

A number of sleep apnea patients shared their own experiences with the condition in the National Geographic channel's documentary "Sleepless in America." "I was falling asleep driving constantly," a woman with sleep apnea says in the clip above. "I thought it was because I had a small child and was just running around...But the truth was, there was a sleep disorder behind all of it."

Experts estimate that at least 18 million Americans live with sleep apnea. It's more common in men, smokers, older people and people who are overweight, but it can affect anyone. Medical professionals urge loud snorers to speak with their doctors about sleep apnea.

Watch the clip above to hear more about what sleep apnea really feels like from the patients profiled in "Sleepless in America."

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